February 5 - 11, 2012 is International Development Week in Canada. Each year focuses on a different topic and aims to encourage Canadians - especially youth - to get involved in Canada's international development efforts.
This year's theme - empowerment of women and girls - is one of our own vital priorities for success as women and girls often hold key roles of responsibility for household water supply, childcare and community mobilization.
In 2010, we met Mrs. Florence Awor - a resident of Onyut village in northern Uganda. Before the construction of her community's well, she - and the other women from her village - spent over 2 hours for just one collection of water from an unprotected and unsafe source. With a well now in her village, they can collect safe water for their families in 20 minutes. Florence and three other women have also become members of the village water committee - providing leadership and representation for the women of Onyut. Through her leadership role, Florence has become a positive role model for youth in her village. She's creating a healthier community which, in turn, enables her to better care for her family, her home and her farm.
In the region of Léo in Burkina Faso, approximately 3,000 women make up UGPPK - a women's shea butter production cooperative. As part of the cooperative, the women grow shea trees in their villages and process the fruit to be sold.
Our partners at UGPPK recognize that access to safe water and sanitation is vital to the women's efforts and their time spent at the cooperative. In May 2010, we completed the first phase of a project which provided 1 new well and 2 latrines near the cooperative's processing area. Last year, we completed Phase 2, which provided five more latrines and a new well to serve over 1,300 people.
Access to sanitation greatly improved the working conditions for the women at the processing centre and for their children who often accompany them. By providing safe water access in their home villages, members and their families benefit from improved health, enabling children to spend more time in school and providing women with more time for income generating activities and childcare. UGPPK also offers community hygiene training and literacy programs for it’s members and their children – improved health and well-being through water, sanitation, education and empowerment!
Learn more about our current Projects Needing Help in Haiti and Uganda!
Learn more about the empowerment of women & girls in Aromo, Uganda!
Just in time for Valentine's Day - purchase a gift basket filled with products made with shea butter from the UGPPK women's shea butter cooperative!